The American Varieties Of Hamburgers

A hamburger seems to be a uniquely North American phenomenon. While having its roots in Europe, the dish really peaked in popularity in the United States and in Canada. There are a ton of varieties of hamburgers served, but can be generally divided in to those that are served in fast food restaurants and those that are given a bit more attention, generally served at home or in a restaurant. Restaurant burgers generally come with a certain level of preparedness (generally called "dressed" or "with everything", though more creative nomenclature is used throughout both countries) that includes basics like lettuce and tomato, with other items like cheese (American for less expensive burgers, with Cheddar and other varieties available for those that cost a bit more), onion, or pickles completing the usual arrangement.


Most burgers are also topped with some sort of condiment (mayonnaise and mustard are the most common, with ketchup coming quite close) - though these toppings are often left off in favor of everything from Thousand Island Dressing to Barbecue sauce.

In addition to the standards, burgers commonly feature a host of other toppings. The most common addition is likely bacon, though items like guacamole and avocado are popular on the West coast and mushrooms seem to be popular in more upscale eateries. Of course, there are many specialty burgers that feature "wilder" ingredients, which may include anything from chili peppers to pineapple, various other meats to onion rings, and even odder items like scrambled eggs.

What a burger is topped with largely seems to vary by region, especially when one is dealing with smaller eateries. Burgers of the "Texas" variety, for example, might feature the standard toppings along with mustard and jalapenos. A burger served in a "Midwestern" style will often include butter in some capacity (generally in the form of a buttered bun), while certain eateries in the Carolinas might eschew the traditional toppings entirely and use chili and coleslaw as toppings. Hawaiian burgers generally stick with a tropical theme by using teriyaki sauce and pineapple, while California might add on regional toppings like guacamole. The Southwest is home to a popular concoction called the "Slopper", which features judicious use of red and green chilis. Every region of the United States has a different "standard" hamburger, and a different regional specialty. What is common in one area might be unheard of in another, and vice versa.

One of the most universal variations is the amount of meat used. In fast food restaurants, the "double" or "triple" is quite common, generally using multiple patties to increase the amount of meat on a burger. Patty melts are another common variation, eschewing a bun for buttered bread and using onions and cheese as the primary topping.

Another common variant is the slider - a very small hamburger that is served on a small bun, generally topped with onions, pickles, and mustard. These burgers started as a military meal, but gained a great deal of popularity in American fast food restaurants like White Castle and Krystals.

Of course, even with these standards, there are even more "out there" burger varieties. The Canadian "kubie" uses kubasa instead of ground beef, for example, and there are many other non-beef burgers available in many markets. Turkey and chicken burgers are popular for those that do not eat meat, and soy and vegetable based burgers are available for those vegetarians that want to partake in this traditional meal.

Juicy Lucy Burger

Minnesota is home to the "Juicy Lucy", a burger with cheese inside the meat instead of the usual set up. These sandwiches feature a hot interior of cheese, a unique culinary experience that can often lead to burns for the inexperienced. However, the hot cheese within is a great taste, and sworn by from those that have had it a time or two.

For those that are looking for something a bit more healthy, low carbohydrate burgers have become something of a phenomenon. These burgers replace with the bread with lettuce, and generally include lower fat and calorie sauces like mustard in place of mayonnaise. While an odd choice (and only vaguely healthy in and of itself), this burger does represent the fact that the hamburger is an always evolving dish, and that new varieties will keep being created as time goes on.

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